“If I can turn back time, I’ll do it all again…” sang Cher.
Yesterday while taking a break from a knitting frenzy, I checked my Feedly account to scan through some of the titles from blogs I follow.
One blog by Digital Sociologist Mark Carrigan (@mark_carrigan) is one which I make time to read because not only does he write daily, all of his posts are educational, informative and thought-provoking (exactly the types of blogs I prefer to read).
In his post, Looking Back Through Your Twitter History caught my eye.
He had used the website Internet Archive: Wayback Machine (a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artefacts in digital form) to recall his Twitter account through various years.
As I understand it, the Wayback Machine trawls through the internet doing something like a ‘screen capture’ at various times, however, you can also save a page at any time. The front page claims that it has saved 327 billion web pages. We have to be thankful of sites like this that archive pages so that they’re not lost to link rot over time. I wrote about this in Curator Panics Over Link Rot.
Naturally, I had to try Wayback Machine out for myself.
As an avid user of the internet since it first came into our lives, as well as an active social media user, I wanted to recall my old websites. It was an interesting exercise to see how my websites changed over the years. I noticed that they have become more graphical and visual over the years but at the same time noticed that I’m still answering the same questions in 2018 as I did in 2014.
That is, nothing has changed. Maybe we haven’t progressed with social media as development and networked learning tools as I thought we would have by now?
What I did enjoy was stumbling upon my first blog on the Blogger platform called Ramblings.
I had long since forgotten my password and could not find out how to reactivate it. Some time ago, I had spent a considerable amount of time trying to figure out what my password was so that I could get into the back end of Ramblings to no avail. For some reason, last night, without even thinking, I type in a password and instantly, I’m in Blogger staring at all my blog posts since 2005.
It was lovely to go through the posts and recall the different moments of my life. This blog was less about learning and development and more as an expression of my own observations as to what was happening on the news and in my life. I blogged about my knitting, Rotary, golf, crafts and Navy service as well as our travels.
Back then, I had no idea about tagging, or keywords, categories or any way of customising my blog to easily locate blog posts. The only semblance of some order on this blog is that the posts are written chronologically.
This Wayback Machine activity has made me realise how much I have improved and progressed over the years. My entire digital progress has evolved over the years and thanks to sites like Wayback Machine, it’s not lost. I can see how I have developed and matured over the years.
From the clunky heavy text-based formats to now, more visually based stories of how I work, learn and connect with people but through audio and video which has only served to make my digital life come “alive”. Where people used to read what my thoughts were, they can now participate and contribute to them in far more engaging ways.
The biggest lesson?
I’m where I am today because my blogging journey started from using blogs as an expression of my own voice, thoughts and reflections – an extension of self and of ONE digital identity – and NOT through using the blog as a monetising platform using the latest content marketing tactics; nor separating my “professional persona” with my “personal persona” but finding a happy balance of both so that what you see is what you get when you meet me online or in the flesh.
Here’s How My Old Websites Looked Like
I had no idea about Wayback Machine (thanks to @mark_carrigan and now doing a mad run through of how my social media accounts looked like in 2013 and 2014…here’s my Twitter account. It’s a bit depressing to realise my life is still focussed on same stuff… pic.twitter.com/09ungkJghT
— Helen Blunden (@ActivateLearn) May 20, 2018
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